Work Placement History
Work Placement Scheme
Boys from the Bush Program
In 2001, social worker Milton James, drawing on his experience of working with young Indigenous offenders, brought his Boys from the Bush program to Cape York Partnerships.
The program was a social enterprise centred on the production and sale of eucalyptus and melaleuca oils. Boys from the Bush showed that supervised real work in functional environments can accomplish behavioural change among young people from dysfunctional backgrounds.
Evolving to the Work Placement Scheme
The Work Placement Scheme evolved from Boys from the Bush. It demonstrated that young indigenous people can take up employment outside their home communities and cope with the demands of mainstream private sector employment in spite of intergenerational welfare dependency.
The Work Placement Scheme first focussed on the harvest trail in Victoria and South Australia, and then moved to the more stable and lucrative employment opportunities in the meat processing industries.
Moving Forward With the Work Placement Scheme
The Work Placement Scheme is now a proven model for moving Cape York youth into the real economy.
In 2008, Cape York Partnerships established a partnership with Mission Australia to scale up the scheme from a trial into a large-scale integration of Cape York school leavers into the real economy.